Knickerbocker Glory: A Very British Desert - Silke Kitchens Skip to main content

The positively time Knickerbocker Glory is an Ice Cream Sundae that likely rose to prominence during the 1920s, and beyond that core element, the makeup of a Knickerbocker Glory is all over the board. Basically, if it’s sweet, it’ll go in a Knickerbocker Glory somewhere in the world; Nuts, Biscuit, Fruits, Chocolate, Whipped Cream, Meringue, it’s all pretty much fair game. British holiday makers will attest to all of these and more going in the famous ice cream; my personal favourite is undeniably hundreds and thousands with lashings of raspberry sauce.

Even the idea of topping the treat off with a fruit of some description is fairly open to interpretation; though a single Glacé is used in most cases, almost any bold fruit could be used to top off a Knickerbocker Glory.

The word “Knickerbocker” is said to have been derived from a common surname among many of the Dutch settlers that emigrated to New York, which was also used as a generic descriptor for European-American citizens in general around the same time. This doesn’t quite explain how the term came to be used for an English desert, however. Likewise, the origin of the desert itself is unclear; many attribute it to Lyon’s Bakeries, who introduced it as a menu item at their Corner House cafes in 1920, alongside a range of outerwear-based deserts like Plus Fours and the Charlie Chaplin Waistcoat.

The latter of which (and the Knickerbocker Glory itself) are mentioned by name in an editorial from the 6th May 1929 edition of the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer. Another theory posits that it might have some sort of connection to the Knickerbocker Ice Co., a 19th century “Ice Harvester” firm based in New York who’s business- along with pretty much every other Ice Harvester business- collapsed around about the time of the Knickerbocker Glory’s supposed rise to fame, that’s to the introduction of Refrigerators in the home.